Palmyrenes Abroad: Traders and Patrons in Arsacid Mesopotamia

Carlo Celentano

Abstract


This paper tries to investigate one of the most peculiar phenomena of mobility in the ancient world, that is, the emigration of the Palmyrene citizens who left their homeland and moved to some communities of the Arsacid Mesopotamia, creating commercial enclaves in it. We do not know almost anything about the internal organization of those, but surely there was a lower class, composed by merchants, and a higher class, composed by the so‐called trade patrons or trade lords, whose duty was to help traders in their journey. The study is focused on the analysis of the evidences that shows patrons’ and traders’ activities within communities and institutions of Arsacid Mesopotamia. The aim is to understand the behavior pattern and the environmental conditions that enabled Palmyrenes to live and run their business far from home, and in a land ruled by Rome’s archenemy.

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